Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Starting Over on $260 --- Thank you American Red Cross

On Friday night, my friend's house went up in flames. Not just an ordinary housefire from something left on the stove or a faulty wire somewhere. This was arson, with accelerant in every room. The contents, the walls, the ceilings, the floors and even the windows are all gone. The metal window frames are melted and hanging in bizaare swoops and angles that make my stomach turn. My friend and his four children are staying in a single hotel room. The Red Cross provided them with a room with no cooking facilities except a tiny microwave and a coffee machine, then gave them $130 for food. Total. For five people. And another $130 for clothing. Ditto. They have the room until tomorrow at 11 am. After that, they are on their own.

Aside from the clearly criminial act of setting this fire, there is another criminal act going on.

The Red Cross, which misses no chance to collect money from the good people of this country, is raking it in by the armful, and giving it out in thimblefuls.

Imagine you have lost everything. An arson determination means weeks or even months of delay for the insurance payments. You have 4 children. And now you have $260 to feed and cloth them from scratch. $260 for backpacks and school supplies and shoes and underwear and food and clothes for school and clothes for work and laundry and personal care things like shampoo and soap and deodorant and ... food. This man probably gave far more than $260 to Red Cross over the years. And yet that is all this good family has to "get back on their feet."

If that is truly all the Red Cross can spare for a family of five, why aren't they working with area and national merchants to gather supplies for families in crisis? Why aren't they showing up with gift certificates for clothing and food, backpacks full of school supplies and a list a rental housing especially for short term crisis housing? A debit card and a few teddy bears and they are on their merry way to the next fund-raiser. Another family helped. NOT!

After hearing a while back how much the director of the Red Cross makes each year, I was hesistant to give them any more donations. After this fiasco, I will make sure I never do. Spread the word. It's time for a change. The Red Cross has outlived its usefulness. Let's make something better...and I'll direct it free.

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